The Dinosaur Lords #1
by Victor Milán
Published on July 28, 2015 by Tor
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
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Men and women live on Paradise, but dinosaurs predominate. Colossal plant-eaters like Brachiosaurus, terrifying meat-eaters like Allosaurus, and, the most feared of all, Tyrannosaurus rex rule the land.
Seeking to centralize real power in his figurehead Fanged Throne, Emperor Felipe of Nuevaropa sets off a chain of wars that may blaze up to consume the continent called the Tyrant's Head. But is Imperial ambition the only spark, or are more sinister forces at work?
And so we have as our players: Fallen hero Karyl Bogomirskiy, who gets lured into the quixotic task of raising an army from a province of pacifists. Part-time dinosaur master and minstrel and full-time rogue Rob Korrigan, who wants to get paid and laid--but he follows the man he's written and sung about into what looks like certain disaster. Princess Melodia, who is eager to escape the shadow of her indulgent but neglectful father, the Emperor. And Imperial Champion Jaume, Count of the Flowers, the Empire's most celebrated swordsman and poet, who wants to serve Beauty and the right. But what can he do when faced with two equally wrong and ugly choices?
This book was provided by the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I had such high hopes for The Dinosaur Lords. While it’s marketed as Jurassic Park meets Game of Thrones, I was more excited about an “adult” version of Dinotopia. You known, dinosaurs and humans co-existing and all that (with maybe a bit of epic fantasy battle scenes thrown in for good measure).
The story emerges from a place called Paradise. It’s never made clear if this is a fictional place on earth or another world entirely, or anything really. We know that the humans are there, the dinosaurs are there, and that’s that. For all the info dumps at the beginning of the book, I know next to nothing about the world, its history, or even the culture. Names are thrown around left and right (and now you have to know the dinosaur names and species and nicknames and all that ON TOP OF the characters). I contemplated keeping a list of some kind to keep it straight. It made reading the book very tedious.
The Dinosaur Lords had a few good elements. It’s perfect if you’re looking for extensive fight scenes. . . with dinosaurs. I also saw the connection to A Game of Thones but mostly through the level of violence and explicit content. This book features a lot of adult language, rape, and gore (if those are triggering topics for you, I suggest avoiding this book). For me, it didn’t bother me from a reading standpoint but grew old as it seemed to be used more to get the reader’s attention than to really make an impact on the story.
I was really annoyed by the lack of female characters and a further lack of page time that the ones that were included received. Of all the main characters that the story bounces between, Melodia is the only female of the bunch. A princess, she’s depicted as spoiled and headstrong, ignore by the men in her life. Her entire character growth seems to be that she’s realized that her servants are people too.
She has SO MUCH POTENTIAL and I want to see her get more time in future books because, to be honest, I didn’t care all that much about the other (male) characters.
Except Karyl. He’s an odd one. A famous warrior who’s died more than once and has this very chill attitude but is super deadly? Yeah, I’m interested. Plus, his name seems to be the one that pops up with this series more and more yet he almost played a background role compared to the rest of the cast.
There was also Falk and I’m not sure if he’ll get more scenes in the next book but he seemed to be just as complex as Karyl but more talkative. Frankly, I want him to rise up against mommy dearest and make decisions for himself but we shall see.
As for the story. . . I didn’t really feel like a lot happened? It moved between characters so much that if the book focused on the events and just the events, it’d probably only be a quarter of the size.
So the big question: would I recommend this book? It’s certainly something. Not what I was hoping for and I really need more of the few characters I did like (and who got the least about of scenes, coincidentally enough) to shine more in the next book. This was a very average read at best for me but I can’t recommend it without seeing if the sequel improves on it or not.